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Gimme yer best Buddy Guy

GUEST 29 May 01 - 09:44 AM
GUEST 29 May 01 - 01:48 PM
Mrrzy 29 May 01 - 01:55 PM
GUEST,Whistle Stop 29 May 01 - 02:26 PM
fat B****rd 29 May 01 - 03:51 PM
Chanteyranger 29 May 01 - 11:08 PM
Stevangelist 30 May 01 - 01:14 AM
dr soul 30 May 01 - 03:28 AM
GUEST 30 May 01 - 07:49 AM
Brian Hoskin 30 Jun 03 - 04:37 AM
GUEST,keberoxu 02 Jul 16 - 08:49 PM
GUEST,Hootenanny 03 Jul 16 - 06:26 AM
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Subject: Gimme yer best Buddy Guy
Date: 29 May 01 - 09:44 AM

The local college station had been playing cuts from Buddy's latest, "Sweet Tea," a couple of months before it had been released. Specifically, the second cut on the disc, Baby Please Don't Leave Me, caught the most airplay. It sounded like Buddy had ingested a bunch of 'shrooms and stepped back forty years in time to influence such psychedelic bands as Jefferson Airplane and Big Brother and the Holding Company. A seven minute plus jam, bathed in reverb and backed by a simple rhythm line, it resembles more of a wail than yer typical blues vibe.

This time out, Buddy abandoned the slick sounding horn arrangements that diluted the emotive feel of previous recordings. He stripped the sound down to the basics - guitar(s), bass, and drums - cranked up the amps to '11' and proceeded to rip it up. Only the first cut, Done Got Old, is accoustic. If it weren't for the intimate way Buddy intones the lyrics to this song, you'd think he was pulling your leg. The rest of the tracks on the CD testify to the fact that at 65, Buddy can play as intensely as anyone laying down blues licks today.

To the album's detriment, there doesn't seem to be much originality in the songs. It sounds like Buddy has tuned in to the relatively recent wave of artists like R.L. Burnside and the late Junior Kimbrough that have defined (redefined?rediscovered?), for lack of a better term, the 'North Mississippi' sound. Perhaps "Sweet Tea" is Buddy's 'take' on these guys.

Then again, blues is not so much about originality as it is about conveying a feeling or eliciting an emotional response. On both counts, Buddy Guy has struck a mighty powerful chord with "Sweet Tea."

Whaddya think?

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Subject: RE: Gimme yer best Buddy Guy
Date: 29 May 01 - 01:48 PM

Haven't heard it. I've never been a huge Buddy Guy fan; he always sounded like "more sizzle than steak," as the saying goes. But I haven't heard that much, and my impressions maybe off base. Anyone else got anything to say about Mr. Guy?

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Subject: RE: Gimme yer best Buddy Guy
From: Mrrzy
Date: 29 May 01 - 01:55 PM

And here I thought it was a nickname for Buddy Holly... *sigh*

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Subject: RE: Gimme yer best Buddy Guy
From: GUEST,Whistle Stop
Date: 29 May 01 - 02:26 PM

That was me in the second posting above -- guess I've got to re-set something.

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Subject: RE: Gimme yer best Buddy Guy
From: fat B****rd
Date: 29 May 01 - 03:51 PM

It may have been boyish enthusiasm but the first time my teenage friends and myself heard Buddy was on a compilation (Pye label, I think) the track was "The first time I met the blues". We thought he must have recorded the Guitar part stood behind sandbags on an insulated floor or whatever. Just like many first hearings, Robert Johnson, Elmore James et al, it's not the same now I'm "grown up" shame, shame shame.

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Subject: RE: Gimme yer best Buddy Guy
From: Chanteyranger
Date: 29 May 01 - 11:08 PM

You might want to listen to him in another context, as guitarist for Junior Wells' Chicago Blues Band, on an album produced by Samuel Charters in the 1960s called "It's My Life, Baby!" Half the album was recorded live at a Southside blues club. I haven't heard Buddy Guy's later albums, but this one's a gem, as is Wells's harmonica playing and vocals.


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Subject: RE: Gimme yer best Buddy Guy
From: Stevangelist
Date: 30 May 01 - 01:14 AM

Buddy has always been one of the "outsiders" when it comes to the purist's view of Chicago (or urban or whatever) blues. He is a talented guitarist; I wonder, however, how much of his show really is a put-on act for the suburban white kids. After all, this is the guy who gives a sh*t that Hendrix (yawn) stole his wild guitar style and hyper stage attitude. Maybe Guy's just a little too well-packaged for some blues fans. Good player, anyway. His work with Junior Wells is superb, as he mostly stays the heck out of the way of the only man original enough on the amplified harp to get copied as much as Little Walter Jacobs.

May The Road Rise To Meet You,


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Subject: RE: Gimme yer best Buddy Guy
From: dr soul
Date: 30 May 01 - 03:28 AM

A long time ago, a buddy living in Vancouver BC invited me to see a set of blues movies. Among the gems was a very young Buddy Guy appearing on early '60's television, first with his Chicago band (heavy on the horns), and then playing an acoustic guitar duet with somebody like Son House.

Since I was already acquainted with his Junior Wells work, it made me appreciate Mr. Guy's range of styles all the more. His backing of both Junior Wells and Son House was (and is) the epitome of tasteful blues accompaniment, while his Chicago band of 1962 was VERY horn-oriented, with his screaming vocals on top of it. His modern work has emphasized flash over substance, but he's got great chops at the foundation.

I think Buddy Guy had the misfortune of coming along in the second generation of Chicago blues players (along with Magic Sam and Otis Rush). These guys were just after the golden age of Chicago blues, so didn't get the appreciation of us "classic blues" fans, and were just before the rock revolution and British invasion blotted out the sun of Chicago's blues players. It's really a testament that he's still playing.

Some other good Buddy Guy records include backing Junior Wells on one of the best blues album ever made - "HooDoo Man Blues" (Delmark) - and "Buddy Guy and Junior Wells Play the Blues" (Atlantic, 1972), where the back up band includes Eric Clapton Dr. John, and the J. Geils band.

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Subject: RE: Gimme yer best Buddy Guy
Date: 30 May 01 - 07:49 AM

Many, many thanks for the input. Buddy Guy's work had always been in the periphery of my (limited) knowledge of blues guitarists, having on occasion only caught a snatch of a song here and there while cruising the radio dial in the off hours. As stated earlier, the horns and big band accoutrements were always sort of a turn-off.

Collectively, your responses are an inspiration to delve a little deeper into the body of Guy's work. And that's what it's all about. In the meantime, "Sweet Tea" stays in the CD player. It'll be a long time before I get tired of this one.

Other thoughts/impressions/comments/criticisms/reviews/whatever are of course, still welcome.

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Subject: Review: Buddy Guy in Billboard
From: Brian Hoskin
Date: 30 Jun 03 - 04:37 AM

Buddy Guy Explores New 'Blues' Territory

Sat June 28, 2003 08:03 AM ET

By Wes Orshoski

NEW YORK (Billboard) - A few years back, producer Dennis
Herring was struck by a nagging question about blues legend
Buddy Guy.

Why, record after record, was Guy chasing crossover success?
He seemed to be toiling away, trying to push a brand of blues-
rock fusion on folks who just weren't buying it.

What he ought to be doing, Herring reasoned, is making
traditional blues albums that more accurately reflect not
only his stature in the blues pantheon -- as one of its few
living icons -- but also the full range of his abilities
within the genre.

A fairly relentless drive to put this right seems to have
sparked yet another revival in the blues great's long career.


After a roughly 15-year lapse in studio recordings, Guy re-
emerged in the early '90s with a string of albums on the
Silvertone label.

While each, especially the Grammy Award-decorated 1991
effort "Damn Right, I've Got the Blues," helped bolster his
reputation and rekindle his career, Guy's two most recent
sets for the label, both produced by Herring, demand more
attention and respect.

In 2001, Guy and Herring delivered "Sweet Tea," which found
the now-66-year-old artist giving his slick, signature
Chicago blues style a momentary rest. Instead, he embraced
the hypnotic and raunchy North Mississippi hill country blues
sound mastered by the likes of such revered but little-known
bluesmen -- and Fat Possum artists -- as R.L. Burnside and
the late Junior Kimbrough.

Critics instantly hailed the set as a triumph -- one that
revealed a side of Guy most thought they'd never see and
unveiled talents that many didn't realize Guy possessed. It
was like hearing an old dog master new tricks.

On June 3, Silvertone issued Herring and Guy's second
collaboration, "Blues Singer," an all-acoustic set that is
the first Guy album hell-bent on emphasizing his
underappreciated singing skills over his guitar heroics.

Throughout the album, Guy uncharacteristically plays without
a guitar pick. By plucking the strings of a '50s Harmony
archtop guitar with his thumb and fingers, he adds a tone and
intimacy we've rarely heard from him.

It's a playing style -- strictly enforced by Herring during
the album's recording -- that helps make "Blues Singer" a
striking listen.

Together, "Sweet Tea" and "Blues Singer" inform the listener
that if you think you had Buddy Guy figured out, you simply
don't know the half of it.

And "Blues Singer," which features appearances by Eric
Clapton and B.B. King, could not have arrived at a better

Congress declared 2003 as the Year of the Blues. A Martin
Scorsese blues miniseries and a related Antoine Fuqua film
celebrating the genre are both expected to feature the artist
prominently when they're released later this year. Thus, Guy
looks certain to garner more respect and many new ears this


Herring, who has worked with Counting Crows and Camper Van
Beethoven, started lobbying Silvertone and Guy's management a
few years ago on the "Sweet Tea" concept, feeling it could
lift the artist out of the "crossover rut" in which he felt
Guy was entrenched.

Initially, the bluesman was hesitant. He was -- and remains --
interested in having hits. And this project was not
mainstream-friendly in the slightest.

What's more, he was not familiar with the North Mississippi
scene. Yet, after some persuasion, Guy was sold on the

Making the album and recording the Louisiana native at the
producer's Oxford, Miss.-based Sweet Tea studios, Herring
says, was a chance to "take the Chicago guy and pull him back
down in the mud, where he came from."

And with "Blues Singer," Guy gets even muddier.

The album is more devoted to the early Delta blues sound and
style than anything Guy has ever cut, including the acoustic
sets he recorded with blues harpist Junior Wells.

And that is very much by Herring's design. "I wanted the
record to be real primary, even making Muddy Waters seem kind
of like the modern side of the blues," he says.

Yet he was careful to ensure that the album retained the
trancey, rural North Mississippi sound that Guy mastered
on "Sweet Tea." And that's appropriate, considering that it
was during the "Sweet Tea" mixing sessions that "Blues
Singer" was born.

While listening to that album's lone acoustic track, the set-
opening "Done Got Old" -- one of four Kimbrough covers
on "Sweet Tea" -- then-Zomba chief Clive Calder remarked to
Herring, "It would be great to make a whole album like this
with Buddy."

Herring took the project from there. As was the case
with "Sweet Tea," he chose a number of the songs Guy covered,
including the John Lee Hooker tracks "Crawlin'
Kingsnake," "Black Cat Blues" and "Sally Mae."

The disc is notable for the intimacy felt throughout its 12
tracks. Part of that comes from the fact that half of the
record is simply Guy, his voice and his acoustic guitar.

But it is also partially born out of the fact that the takes
were cut in the Sweet Tea control room. There, Guy played
alone or with his bandmates, including Squirrel Nut Zippers
guitarist Jimbo Mathus -- who also played on "Sweet Tea."

But nothing proved more integral to the album's low-key feel
than the absence of the guitar pick.

Herring says, "It forced him to be a little more purely
melodic, or economical; a little more self-editing. When he
would pick up a pick and start playing, he would fall into
some of these automatic things that I heard him do before.
And I liked the idea of this record having this completely
different feel to it."

Guy says, "My fingers were so sore on that album, man, I was
almost crying; and every time I'd pick up a pick, he'd be in
the engineer's room, and he'd say, 'Nah, nah, nah, you got
the pick.' "

The album "snatched me back a bit," Guy adds, reminding him
of just how few of his heroes and peers -- like Fred
McDowell, Son House and Waters -- are left.

He cracks, "Once, I went to sleep and woke up and I was the
young guy. Then, all of a sudden, I went to sleep and woke up
and I was the senior citizen!"


Because it is an acoustic disc with such intimacy, "Blues
Singer" has given Silvertone more radio and marketing options
than perhaps any of Guy's albums for the label.

In addition to noncommercial and adult alternative radio, the
disc is also being serviced to heritage and Americana
stations that play more acoustic-oriented folk music,
Silvertone marketing exec Kim Kaiman says. "It reaches a
little further than previous Buddy records."

Considering the recent successes of "Buena Vista Social
Club," Norah Jones and the "O Brother, Where Art Thou?"
soundtrack, Guy's move to an acoustic record likely leaves
him with more potential for radio and TV success than he's
had in recent years.

And the album surely looks to get a boost from the upcoming
Year of the Blues-themed Scorsese and Fuqua projects. The
latter captures the all-star Salute to the Blues concert held
in February at New York's Radio City Music Hall. Guy
dominated the show, performing four songs -- more than any
other artist that night.

"It's an important year for Buddy, it's an important year for
us as a record company and it's an important year for the
genre," Kaiman says. "The more people that hear and see him
will understand that he is a national treasure."

What Congress, Scorsese and Fuqua are doing this year --
celebrating the blues -- is something Guy has dedicated his
life to.

Although he admits that he has a hunger for a hit, he's just
as quick to admit that -- after those long years outside of
the studio -- he jumps at the chance to record, regardless of
a project's commercial potential.

Whether electric Chicago blues, the North Mississippi trance
of "Sweet Tea" or the acoustic Delta material on "Blues
Singer," he is furthering the music he loves. That is perhaps
more important to him than a hit record. He says, "Anything
to help the blues -- if it's beating a tub, man -- just call
me: I'm ready."


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Subject: RE: Gimme yer best Buddy Guy
From: GUEST,keberoxu
Date: 02 Jul 16 - 08:49 PM

It is a shock to realize how old Buddy Guy is now. For so long he was the youngest kid on the block.

I heard him play, when Clifford Antone was still alive, in Austin. Antone had cultivated a public who would actually hold still and pay attention to blues music. And this audience knew Buddy Guy well. He came alone, and used Antone's house band. And Guy felt so at home that he didn't do any flashy stuff. He just played guitar, sang, and testified. I felt blessed to witness it, and he was just genuinely happy to be there that night. I wonder how much of that audience has dissipated now that Antone is dead.

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Subject: RE: Gimme yer best Buddy Guy
From: GUEST,Hootenanny
Date: 03 Jul 16 - 06:26 AM

Why should you be shocked? we are all getting older by the minute.

I am just pleased to know that Buddy is still able to cut the mustard and live and enjoy a comfortable life. It pleases me more as I am one of the team that brought Buddy to Europe for his first tour in February 1965, He was hardly -if at all- known at the time this side of the Atlantic and was recommended to us by Willie Dixon. Within months he was back in Europe on the Folk Blues Festival tour and It was about a year later that he was back as part of a jazz festival in the section featuring various guitarists playing differing styles. The British "rockers" got to hear him and as they say "the rest is history".
I still have the recording of him playing my acoustic guitar at our flat in '65 and photographs of him in our kitchen when he was really cooking - gumbo that is - he is as good a cook as he is an entertainer.

Good luck Buddy and Many Happy Returns for July 30th.


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